Duchess Meghan’s first patronage will likely be the Campaign for Female Education


The Duke of Sussex and Duchess of Sussex watch the wheelchair basketball final in Australia

The one-year anniversary of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement announcement just happened last week. In a few weeks, it will be their seven-month wedding anniversary. Meghan has already undertaken one large charitable project – putting together the Hubb Community Kitchen cookbook – and traveled on one mini-tour in Europe, and one huge tour in the South Pacific. She’s already given several speeches and done dozens of events, starting before she was even a duchess. Before the engagement, Meghan also took a step back from her charitable work as an actress, the idea being that she would need a different kind of charity portfolio once she was part of the royal family. We’ve been waiting to hear what her next big move would be, and I think Poor Jason Knauf decided to use this moment, right now, as a chance to change the subject away from the smear campaign and focus on Meghan’s future charitable work. You can tell Jason has a hand in it because the word “keen” made a few appearances:

The Duchess of Sussex is to put education for women in developing countries at the heart of her public work, when she announces her first royal patronages next year, Mail Online can reveal. Meghan, 37, has been having secret briefings with a number of organisations, including CAMFED – the Campaign for Female Education – which works in several African countries, including Zambia, which was visited by Prince Harry last week. It is understood that she and Harry are keen to work together on the issue in their role as roving Commonwealth youth ambassadors.

Meghan is a passionate advocate of the work of charity CAMFED, which believes one of the best way to alleviate poverty and inequality is through education. It has already affected the lives of nearly three million girls and young women across sub-Saharan Africa. Its CEO, Lucy Lake, who was with the sixth in line to the throne in Zambia, revealed to the Mail that she had briefed his wife privately at Kensington Palace earlier this year about their work in the country, as well as Zimbabwe, Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi.

It is hoped that the pregnant duchess will be able to travel out to Africa and see CAMFED’s work for herself after she has had her baby next spring. Royal sources say the duchess has been having meetings with a number of organisations and is still finalising which areas to work in and what charities to support as she moves on with her public work. It is understood that she is particularly keen to support issues where she can work alongside her husband. Aides hope to make an announcement about her first patronages in the new year, eight months after she joined the Royal Family.

Although it is considered quite a long time to wait before announcing her patronages, it is understood that Meghan wishes to ‘really get to know’ the organisations she wants to work with in order to make a ‘real and lasting’ difference.

[From The Daily Mail]

This is Kensington Palace trying to contain two temperamental horses at once – they’re giving Meghan a timeline, and telling her that she can’t officially launch anything or announce anything until mid-January. We already know that Kate plans to launch her new ‘helping the children of Broken Britain’ initiative at some point, and she wants to do it this month (last I heard). In keeping with their duchess-brands, this is what I expect – Kate taking seven years to spearhead her own cultivated issue, which will narrowly focus on British-only concerns. And in her first year of marriage, Meghan gets to do “international” work, foreign work, feminist work, charities that do work in Africa. That being said, I don’t think either woman is being dictated to by Buckingham Palace about which charities to choose – I think Meghan’s interest was always going to go more towards women’s rights, human rights, the right to an education, poverty, all on an international scale.

The Duchess Of Sussex Visits The Hubb Community Kitchen

The Duchess Of Sussex Visits The Hubb Community Kitchen

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, Avalon Red.

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91 Responses to “Duchess Meghan’s first patronage will likely be the Campaign for Female Education”

  1. ByTheSea says:

    Well, at a minimum, Meghan’s drive has lit a fire under Kate’s behind. LOL

  2. Claire Voyant says:

    Maybe European monarchies shouldn’t send their duchesses to correct European-manufactured socioeconomic decimation around the globe.

    • Karen2 says:

      The UK is not a monarchy. It is a parliamentary democracy. She hasnt been sent. She has chosen to do this. Unfortunately in so many countries female education is still intensely resented. In many ways her choice is just as controvertial as Dianas support for AIDS & her anti landmine campaign. Good luck to Sussex.

    • Cee says:

      Seeing as she is the product of colonialism and slavery she is the right kind of person to do this. She CARES and she knows how important education is towards diminishing poverty. When women are economically independent they have the chance to succeed and live in peace.

      • C-Shell says:

        That’s such a well-thought out and expressed comment, @Cee. She IS the right person for this cause. My fantasy is that she and Michelle Obama discussed things they might do TOGETHER to bring visibility to this issue. Seeing them appear or travel together (even better, with Harry in tow) would be amazing.

      • Claire Voyant says:

        Just no. Woc aren’t here to be the face of repair. I actually lime the principle of thevinitiative but these explanations make me cringe.

      • Cee says:

        OK, Claire, apparently nothing would suit you. However, this is an important issue. I am argentinian, I am from a developing country and I know just how important education is. Through education my ancestors were able to progress and do better for their children and I am the product of their privilege, most importantly because I am white, therefore I had a head start my whole life.
        Would you prefer for a caucasian european woman to work for that charity instead of a POC? Meghan doesn’t owe anything to anyone but she is the right messenger – she knows oppression and most likely grew up with her maternal family’s stories and history. She’s not here to FIX THINGS in Africa, she’s here to lend them her voice and platform and to expand their resources and possibilities.

      • Megan says:

        @Cee there are many, many women in every nation in Africa who can speak to this issue. If Meghan wants to elevate their voices to an international platform, then great, but if she is there is import western ideas, that gets problematic, whichc I think is Claire’s point.

        CAMFED seems like it grew out of the grassroots and has been shaped by its stakeholders, so I think it is a good choice for Meghan.

      • Jaded says:

        @ClaireVoyant – so you’re saying that it’s wrong for WoC to do charity work in impoverished and backward countries to support women who can’t get access to education, health care, are routinely raped and treated like cattle, who have to undergo ghastly female circumcision and live lives of abject poverty? Am I wrong to support PLAN Canada’s “Because I Am A Girl” program and sponsor a couple of little girls in Burkina Faso so that they can get the education, health care and tools they need to break the cycle of poverty?

        This is not an issue of white or black or a mix of both races doing repair work from rampant European colonization, it’s putting a face on a terrible problem and working on ways to organize and fund a better life for young women.

      • Megan says:

        @Jaded The Maputo Protocol was adopted by the African Union in 2003, giving women equal rights as men and outlawing FGM. Women’s rights activists in Africa have made a great deal of progress over the past 15 years, but, as we can see from the U.S. civil rights movement, change is slow and it needs to be led by those impacted by discrimination. The idea that someone from the U.S. or Europe is going to “fix” systemic and historic inequalities is preposterous. Which, again, I believe is Claire’s point.

        PLAN is a fine intervention in a developing nation, but it cannot replace the large scale change needed.

      • Jaded says:

        Megan, the Maputo Protocol may have put some pretty language together but is it actually working? The world needs as many people with boots on the ground and willing to work in any way they can to help shine a light on what remains a horrible problem that will take many people several generations to eradicate. It does not need to be led by those impacted by discrimination only, it can be aided by those whose hearts are in the right place. Person by person this will slowly be remediated and by the way, thanks for the dig that PLAN is a ‘fine intervention’ but cannot add to ‘large scale change’, there are thousands upon thousands of us who sponsor children in developing and war-torn nations. We all, each and every one of us, help bring about change.

      • Megan says:

        @Jaded Please educate yourself about women’s rights activists in Africa.

    • Nikki says:

      Are you really against an initiative to enable females to get an education? I’m pragmatic enough to welcome the efforts, wherever they come from. If you were a young girl who was not allowed to learn how to read or write, you would welcome this.

    • MrsBump says:

      100% this is so bloody patronising.

      Why cant the UK concentrate on its own problems ? Maybe stop propping up dictatorships, stop selling weapons, and stop meddling in other countries’ affairs first ?

      And why is Africa always the poster child for all the Royal’s PR efforts ? We do have our own people working in charities, helping our own, we don’t need royals (themselves the biggest claimants of the British public’s charity) popping up every so often and hijacking other people’s work and basking in undeserved glory.

      I’ve been working in Europe for the past 9 years, and it still p*sses me off that the only image that is conjured up when Europeans (basically Westerners in general) think of Africa is poverty, typically some poor black kid swatting at flies like on those UK donation adverts. Give me a break! People still ask me if there are roads in my country and whether we have electricity, despite the fact that i have an engineering degree !

      As for Meghan being the right person, c’mon! to my african eyes, she is just another westerner piggybacking on our shoulders to make herself look good.

      Please help the British people first! the Hub was a brilliant initiative, do more of that, and leave us and the other CW countries to map out our own future.

      • historybuff says:

        I think there are two reasons why the UK (and the US, which is where I’m from) meddle in African affairs.

        Since WWI, the world order has been less about outright colonialism and more about exerting influence on other nations for trade and security benefits. There’s a strong thought in diplomatic circles that if African nations are not aligned with the West, they will fall under the influence of Russia or China. This would not be to the West’s benefit. Many people further believe that if small nations must seek international alliances, that they’re better off with western ones.

        Secondly, most westerners are at least rudimentarily aware of the history of slavery and colonization and how we benefited from such cruelties. Many of us feel some guilt and shame about this, even if we didn’t personally commit any atrocities.

        It’s not a great situation, but it could be/has been a lot worse. Some clever maneuvering between Chinese and American interests will likely improve things.

      • TyrantDestroyed says:

        You expressed it so eloquently that I agree 100% with you. I feel you since my home country is also a target of rich people trying to mend it when they feel bad about their own history.

      • MrsBump says:

        @HistoryBuff –
        trust me the motives are transparent to us too.
        if i had to choose between the west (including the US) meddling in Africa and the Chinese, i choose the Chinese.
        At least the Chinese don’t wrap their vested interest in the cloak of Charity, they see us as a partner, unlike the West who use us as the conduit via which they hope to erase their colonial past, WHILST still exploiting us ! this is just adding insult to injury.

      • Megan says:

        @HistoryBuff Have you been to Africa lately? China has a firm foothold. Their investment in Africa may be self serving, but they follow through on their promises.

    • Mich says:

      Huh? She isn’t creating a charity to lecture people. She is supporting existing charities. The one in Zambia sounds like it was started by Zambians. How is someone with the international clout Meghan has bringing attention and resources to it a bad thing?

  3. Adee says:

    Philanthropy really is a huge passion for Meghan in a way that just isn’t for Kate.
    Its very clear.
    They should just back off from Meghan and let her do her thing without feeling like she’s overshadowing Kate, they are their own women with their own minds.
    This all gives me a little bit of ” The Handmaids tale” vibes, like they are checking on, comparing and controlling women in a way.

  4. Beach Dreams says:

    I look forward to hearing more about her patronages of choice next month. As for that “Broken Britain” project, we’ll see if anything actually comes of it. Not holding my breath on that one.

  5. PlayItAgain says:

    Since William will be king, it makes sense that Kate focuses on the UK, while Meghan can go more global. Both women are competitive, so it’s only natural that they each want to excel. I’m sure that Meghan’s inclusion in the family has woken Kate up a bit. But I don’t buy any of the ‘jealous, shade-throwing ‘ storylines. They’re all adults in one of the most exclusive and scrutinized clubs in the world. It’s in their best interests to get along and help each other succeed, and they’re all smart and sensible enough to know that.

  6. Someone says:

    Great. That’s all the ex colonies need. We didn’t have enogh of privileged whites women trying to save us, now we have western woc trying to save us savages. Why don’t you’ll fix the issues with women in your countries, first?

    • Louise says:

      Kind of agree with this. Britain has been blamed for a lot of the problems in Africa. There is much poverty in Britain work there first.

    • Nikki says:

      Are you really against an initiative to get females education? You mightn’t have been able to have your historically-based views if you had not been able to read and learn. Education is empowering, not demeaning, for girls and women. Whatever efforts can be made to let girls be educated is a good one. You are assuming Meghan is approaching it with a savior attitude. Maybe she has a loving, helpful attitude. The bottom line is: can girls who now have no access to education be given an opportunity to be educated?

    • Rulla says:

      Yes. I’m sure those countries have plenty of people working on those issues. People who understand them better than any foreigner could. A good step towards pulling those countries out of poverty and no education is to stop the current western military meddling that’s happening right now.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      Katie Keen is allegedly going to do that – can’t have them all fixing things in the UK now can we.

      • Louise says:

        That’s their job to work to fix things in the UK. There are plenty of problems. Quit messing in other countries with the Saviour complex. Here let us fix you.

      • JadedBrit says:

        @Louise You might recall a young girl who wanted an education got shot in the head. Her name is Malala. Your comments border on the despicable – that we shouldn’t encourage education because other culture does X – what? It’s better women get betrothed at 8, married at 12, worn out by the age of 25? You understand that the world is vastly overpopulated and that Education is not only a way to reduce the damage done to the planet but actually offer the women of the world something more to look forward to than an early death, right?

      • Jaded says:

        @Louise: many of the countries Meghan’s work will focus on are run by war-lords or dictators. They live in palaces with fleets of Rolls Royces and make their money by enslaving the population to work blood diamond mines or conscript men and boys into fighting their wars. Women and little girls are kidnapped, raped and forced into marriage. If you call working with a variety of charities already established in those countries to curtail the poverty and start girls off at an early age with education and health-care a form of white supremacy or easing of guilty consciences you’re missing the point. They’re not living some idealistic life immersed in their own culture, they are suffering, sick and dying or being preyed upon by a lawless military or forced into prostitution. You know where the highest levels of HIV/AIDS are? Africa and Indonesia, where there is rampant prostitution just to buy food to eat but not enough money to buy contraceptives. I don’t care if you’re white, black, yellow or plaid, we all have to come together to fight this scourge.

      • Malak says:

        @Jaded – I’m in Australia. I haven’t heard or read that Indonesia (right next door) has among the highest level of HIV/AIDS. Reading your post made me google. The 10 countries with the highest levels are all in Africa, from Swaziland (27.2%) to Uganda (6.5%). In Indonesia it’s 0.3 %, but high among the prostitutes and those that use intravenous drugs.

    • hoopjumper says:

      I do wish they had picked an African-led organization. But maybe there are restrictions on the BRF that prevent them from doing so?

      • VirgiliaCoriolanus says:

        I looked it up…while it was started by a Welsh woman (Ann Cotton), most of the team seems to be led by Africans. Internationally, there are more white/non Africans……but the local chapters, per country, are led by citizens of that country it looks like (Ghana, Zimbabwe, etc).

      • Rulla says:

        The thing about all these nonprofits is the lower level staff is usually local, however the manager and all the higher ups are often foreigners and more likely than not are also white. My dad and currently my sister are in the international development field and let’s just say they both agree it’s basically a scam.

      • hoopjumper says:

        @Virginia and @Rulla, interesting info, thanks. Lucy Lake is also white, but she may be African, I can’t tell. I do wonder how much say the African leaders have via the chapter structure or otherwise. I hope MM highlights their work. She’s very thoughtful, so I expect she will.

    • MrsBump says:

      YES exactly!
      the biggest beneficiaries of these constant highly publicised PR campaigns to Save Africa are the royals themselves.
      if they had any guts, they’d be tackling the real issues in the UK, but then they’d be accused of meddling, so its better to go meddle in some other country.
      We Africans, are not sitting idle wringing our hands waiting for Meghan, Harry, William and Kate to come save us.

  7. sage says:

    She appears an involved and hands on person so I’m interested to see how she will help her charities.

  8. Digital Unicorn says:

    Interesting – explains why Kate is suddenly a champion for children in the UK, she is def feeling the Meghan heat. Meghan has always been ‘keen’ on women’s education in other countries amongst other things. I would love to see a royal get involved in FGM (KP PR are you taking notes?).

    I wonder if Kate will suddenly become and outspoken feminist who is going to ‘fix things’ for women.

    • Marvel says:

      “suddenly a champion for children”

      Suddenly? Have you not been around for the last 7 years and missed all the criticism thrown at Kate for having child focused charities because ‘she just isn’t good with kids’. How she should stick to sporting charities because all her interactions with children are ‘awkward’? How KP should stop forcing the ‘Children’s Princess’ narrative for Kate because she isn’t ‘natural’ around children? Strange.

      Camilla became involved with FGM years ago.

  9. Rhys says:

    By the way, Town and Country reports that Meghan had secretly met and spoke with Michelle Obama in London, after a book signing. Finally, someone who can give the woman a piece of great advice.

  10. gingersnaps says:

    Maybe someone can gift Jason a dictionary so he learns that there are other words apart from ‘keen’

  11. Royalwatcher says:

    I know it’s the DailyFail and they are trash and I don’t read them anymore, but this right here is one of the reasons that some Meghan fans (me!) gets so freaking annoyed. It’s the double-standards and flat out lies. This quote is trying, yet again, to frame a negative narrative: “Although it is considered quite a long time to wait before announcing her patronages…”

    If Meghan announces in January, that is actually one month sooner than Kate did (married April, then 4 charities announced in Jan of following year)…so how about reporting that, DailyFail, instead of making it seem like (once again) Meghan is doing something outside the norm for royal duchesses?! PLUS, Meghan already had her cookbook initiative, so you know, already working. Ugh. It’s stuff like this, done over and over again, that makes me so angry.

    As to the charity – great! It seems like a perfect fit for her, especially given the content of her speech at the uni during the South Pacific tour.

  12. Himmiefan says:

    It’s a great idea to do a lot with Harry, at least initially. They’re each the best when they combine their super powers.

    I’m having a lot of fun trolling the Daily Mail comment sections with outlandish things that Meghan has supposedly done, like causing global warming.

  13. Natalie S says:

    I hope she’s also taking on more causes that are UK-centric because otherwise not only is she going to stay Meghan the Interloper, she also risks becoming Airmiles Meghan.

  14. Amelie says:

    Is Kate really naming her initiative “Broken Britain”? I really hope she isn’t. Not only does it sound terrible but it really sounds patronizing to the people it would purport to help. I realize the expression “a broken home” is common to describe families dealing with difficult circumstances especially ones who struggle financially and complicated family dynamics (dysfunctional would be another word to apply). But to actually use it to in the name of her project… what a terrible idea.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Children Of Broken Britian does sound awful.
      I heard that without it being connected to kate or the Monarchy and it sounded very disconnected imo.

      Which with the kate connection seems on brand. I hope it isn’t just something else to exist for their umbrella charity fundraising and distribution business. Because it is a business and not a charitable foundation. They stand for raising money for other causes and then redistribute as they wish after covering their own costs. Which… is a very expensive middleman.

      Or maybe it does a ton of good. Hope that happens.

  15. Alyse says:

    As a Brit, I think this is a bad idea that won’t ingratiate herself with the UK population. She should start off with British charitable work and get to know what the issues here are.

  16. East Coast Go-Getter says:

    Good on Meghan. This is not far from the work she did with UN, and its close to Harry’s commitment.

  17. Rosie says:

    I like small charities that seem to do a lot with very little. They have no need for an expensive chief execs and most of the money/benefits go to the intended recipients.

    The charity Smalls for all sends knickers and bras over to undeveloped areas of Africa and displaced people. Apparently in some areas where women don’t have underwear they are viewed as available whereas if they have underwear they are assumed to be married and therefore under the protection of a man. Awful as it seems a pair of knickers can keep a woman physically safe. It also helps them go to school during a period. I think the charity helps discreetly without huge fanfare and it makes an immediate difference. No preaching or lecturing just regular delivery of undies. Hopefully their help isn’t seen as patronising, just practical.

    The ‘angry black woman’ myth puzzles me. I’d never heard about if before and I don’t know if that’s my ignorance or if it isn’t really a big thing here in the UK. I think angry women are looked down on no matter what their colour in this country. My take on the accusations against Meghan was that she was thought to be rude and ignorant, which in British eyes is probably worse than being angry. Anyway, I don’t see why black women can’t be angry. If America is anything like the UK, black men have a habit of only being present for the conception (with women of any race). All responsibility & work falls on the women. There are decent family minded black men, but it just seems that there aren’t enough. Too many young lads are getting drawing into gangs by drug dealers offering money and the feeling of a father figure. They’ve found boys of 10 carrying drugs and knives. It is so upsetting, young boys losing their lives for nothing. It’s probably too political for Meghan to get involved and it would never happen but I would love to see ALL the mothers join together, black & white, and let the world feel their rage.

    • Rosie says:

      Sorry for the rant, ironically I’m feeling very angry what with Brexit, and increased violent crime against the young and elderly. I hope I haven’t insulted anyone. x

      • Rosie says:

        Annnnd I’m back. Just realised it sounds like I’m blaming all the ills of the world on black men, when we know that’s not the case. What I’m trying to say really really badly is that I’m sick of men (of any race) not being around to raise the child they have fathered. I’m sick of men hurting women and getting away with it. I’m sick of the media pitting women against each other and demanding that we look sexy and attractive every waking minute. Women should be angry & in numbers and if they have the strength to show it good on them.

    • sunny says:

      I wanted to respond to your very heartfelt comment, 1. Paying people in the sector has a lot to do with talent retention. I have worked in international development(and now local poverty)) for about 10 years and one of the biggest problems is that people leave the sector so there is an abundance of lost institutional knowledge. One of the things I find frustrating is that people feel that because you care about a cause and want to work in an area you should be willing to sacrifice huge amounts of pay. Most professionals I know in the sector are willing to take pay cuts to do this sort of work but it simply isn’t sustainable long-term for most people. I myself speak three languages and have 2 graduate degrees and work in a job where I make about 30 000 less per year than I would in the private sector. A lot of times a charity head(if they know what they are doing) can be worth a larger salary especially for a big charity if the leadership is strong enough. It is similar to running a company in terms of the management skills needed.

      And yes, the angry black woman trope is a thing in Britain. It is a thing in most western countries(I say that as black Canadian woman with parents from Britain). My dad’s family all live in London and I have a cousin working in Diversity and Inclusion for one of the major tech companies there and this has come up more than a few times. It isn’t as big a thing as it is in the United States but many black women who live in the west need to be HYPER conscious of our anger because of how we are treated and perceived. In Canada is is so bad that many of my friends who are black professional women have faced human resources blowback for saying things as innocuous as telling their white colleagues not to touch their hair. Then they are often the ones who are made to feel wrong for asserting autonomy over there own bodies. It is a thing.

  18. Rosie says:

    Thank you for responding. It’s too easy to make sweeping generalisations. I hate the business side of money collections which is very aggressive in the UK, but appreciate there are a lot of people involved who do a good job, work hard and have to pay their own bills.

    It upsets me to know how bad it is for WOC in the work place. I can’t believe we haven’t got past this. When I worked with a black woman who was a junior manager, when she was cross it was because something wasn’t done, not because she was ‘angry’, she was an excellent manager. I’m obviously living in a happy bubble. The hair incident..I can’t find words. How does someone work with that. Thank you for taking the time to explain. I’d rather be corrected than remain in ignorance. For what it’s worth the younger generations don’t seem that bothered by colour, and different cultures. They find it easier to find common ground. If we can stop the older generations poisoning their minds there is hope for the future. x

  19. D says:

    “Engagements with Harry” aka “you attack her you attack Harry” he won’t let what happened to his mom or worse happen to her and with the vile people in the world right now it’s a valid concern

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